Signs of Blindness
There are a lot of different signs your dog may be losing their eyesight. Some may seem obvious, and others are great signs to be aware of. The first things you may notice, as a human, will be behavior and activity changes in your dog. They may start bumping into things like walls, furniture, or doors. They will avoid stairs and stop jumping on/off furniture - because they likely can't see where they are! They may have trouble locating you when you call their name or hesitate to follow a command.
These behavior changes are more evident to us and are direct signs that they are struggling to see. When it comes to physical changes, you can visibly see signs when looking at their eyes. If you notice any cloudiness in the eyes, redness, or swelling in or around the eyes, or their pupils don't dilate in darker rooms - it is time to visit your vet and get a proper diagnosis for loss of eyesight.
Caring for a Blind Dog
If your dog was diagnosed by your vet with vision impairment, or you adopted a blind dog, we have some tips to help! It won't be anything crazy, and your dog can live a long and happy life without their eyesight with your help. The most significant factor in caring for your bling dog is making your home blind dog friendly - which we will cover next. But, outside of your home, there are things to do as well. Blind pets can feel very vulnerable and anxious without their eyesight, so keep that in mind with everything you do.
First thing you should do is to start creating a routine for your dog and stick to it. This will help them navigate their everyday life easier. Second, start talking to your dog more! The sound of your voice will help them feel safe, as well as help them navigate and follow you around the house.
Next, make sure you are being patient and make new introductions slowly. Whether that be introducing a new pet, person, toy, etc into your dog's life - do so slowly and with lots of words and positive reinforcement! Some of our other tips for you are to keep the TV on and leave some background noise, get toys that make noise, use more rugs throughout your house, cover any sharp corners in your house and block your stairs to avoid any accidents.
Making Your Home Blind Dog Friendly
Your home is your dog's safe space and you should make it as accommodating as possible for your blind dog. Our biggest tip for creating a safe home for your blind is scent markers! You can use scent markers throughout your house to train your dog to recognize objects before they can run into anything and injure themselves.
Scent markers are made with natural oils that your dog will be able to smell from far away and will help them to recognize boundaries and learn their safe spaces. You will need to assist them and help them understand the new scent - but soon, their natural instincts will kick in and they will use their strong sense of smell to maneuver safely and follow the scent cues.
Besides that, in your home, make sure you cover any and all sharp corners throughout. Make sure you block any stairs or points of entrance/exit you don't want your dog going through. Always keep your dog's food, water and bed in the same place! A silly, but very successful test to make sure your home is blind dog proof is to get on your hands and knees and crawl around your home at their level! This will help you locate anything they could bump into or get into to.
Overall, caring for a blind dog isn't too different, but it requires some additional work and training to accommodate them and their new life. Your dog is smart and very adaptable, as long as you are doing everything you can to help, they will be okay!